Sriracha Lime Salmon with Mango & Avocado Salsa


Sriracha Lime Salmon with Mango & Avocado

Yup, it's that time for another healthy recipe!  And the star of this recipe is salmon- the king of all fish, in my opinion. You hear a lot about salmon being a nutritional powerhouse, filled with tons of essential vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.  But what you don't hear enough about is how god damn delicious it is.  I love salmon, and I feel like we have a really special relationship. When people tell me they don't like salmon, by first reaction is usually to punch them in the tooth and run away.  Thankfully, I have some self control, and instead just curse them under my breath.  How do you not like salmon? It's literally like the butter croissant of the sea.  Rich, soft, and flaky- what's not to love?

Well if you are one of those anti-salmon folks, I beg you to reconsider and to give this beloved fish a second chance.  Not only is this recipe healthy, balanced, and filling, it's quick, easy, and incredibly flavorful.  With a bit of kick from the Sriracha, and some subtle hints of citrus and honey sweetness, the sauce only adds to the salmon's natural decadent flavor. The fatty richness of the perfectly cooked salmon makes you forget for just a moment that you're actually eating healthy. The spice of the fish pairs perfectly with the bright and sweet mango and creamy avocado. Great for an easy weeknight dinner!

So next time someone tells you they hate salmon, feel free to punch them in the tooth, courtesy of me. Or just make them this recipe. 

Sriracha Lime Salmon with Mango & Avocado Salsa

SERVINGS: 1     PREP TIME:  10 mins     COOK TIME: 15 mins     DIFFICULTY: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 4 oz. Atlantic salmon
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 large avocado
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk together honey, Sriracha, lime juice, zest, and salt in a small bow.  Set aside.
  2. Heat a oiled grill pan over medium-high heat, and sear salmon for 1 minute on each side (if you don't have a grill plan, feel free to skip this step.)
  3. Remove the the salmon from heat, and wrap in a foil packet.  Pour Sriracha lime mixture over the salmon, and bake directly on oven rack for 12 minutes.  ( If you skipped the searing step, bake for 15 minutes).
  4. While salmon bakes, combine avocado, mango, lime juice, salt, and red chili flakes in a bowl.  Removed baked salmon from the oven, top with mango avocado salsa and serve.  

Nutritional Facts:

Calories: 395, Fat: 19.7 g, Carbohydrates: 28.3 g, Protein: 27.4 g, Sugar: 23.7 g

Thai Peanut Chicken Wings with Pineapple-Jalapeno Salsa


Thai Peanut Chicken Wings with Pineapple-Jalapeno Salsa

There are a lot of less-than-perfect qualities about myself.  I curse like a sailor, I'm clumsy and uncoordinated, I publicly burp way more than is socially acceptable, and I am- without a doubt- the world's messiest eater.  Like, forreal. I am fully convinced that half the reason I am able to stay slender is because most of the food I eat does not make it to my mouth.  After a meal, I usually look like a baby you let eat spaghetti by itself for the first time. The places I have found food on my body defy the laws of what is scientifically possible of a human while eating. You can usually find me wearing clothing riddled with food stains, dried up oatmeal behind my ear, and a few grains of rice in my hair.  One time I even woke up with melted chocolate in between my cleavage.  True story.

Because of my inability to eat like a civilized human being, if there's one food I should stay away from, it's chicken wings.  But I won't- you know why?  Because my wings are damn delicious, and well worth the inevitable massacre of messiness that ensues after I devour them.  These thai-inspired wings are smothered in a peanut chili sauce, with hints of ginger and coconut. They're topped off with a refreshing and fiery pineapple and jalapeno salsa, rounding off a delicious Asian take on classic hot wings. 

Just make sure to bring plenty of napkins when you chow down on these mouth-watering wings. (Or in my case, a change of clothes).

Thai Peanut Chili Chicken Wings with Pineapple-Jalapeno Salsa

SERVINGS: 15 wings  PREP TIME:  25 mins   COOK TIME: 1 hr  DIFFICULTY: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 15 wings, tips discarded, drumettes and flats separated*
  • 1 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sweet thai chili sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1  cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped

* If you've never separated chicken wings before, here's a great instructional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_66D0UGKvA

Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Set a wire rack inside a foil lined baking sheet.  Toss chicken wings and coconut oil in a large bowl, and spread evenly on wire rack.  Bake wings until skin is crispy, about 45-50 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is coking, make the sauce by whisking coconut milk, peanut butter, chili sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, and brown sugar in a medium bowl until combined.  Set aside.
  3. To make the salsa, add pineapple, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and salt to a small bowl, stirring until combined.  Set aside.
  4. When the chicken has finishing cooking, toss the wings with the peanut-chili sauce until well coated.  Leftover sauce can be served on the side for dipping.  Place wings back on the wire rack and continue cooking 5-10 more minutes until the glaze has caramelized. 
  5. Top the wings with pineapple-jalapeno salsa, and scallions for garnish.  Serve with dipping sauce.

Recipe adapted from 'Half Baked Harvest'

Strawberries N' Creme Greek Yogurt Ice Pops


Strawberries N' Creme Greek Yogurt Ice Pops

I have an addiction.  It's not drugs, it's not gambling- hell, it's not even alcohol.  It's Amazon.  And it's a serious problem. 

About 2 years ago I decided to join Amazon Prime, which includes free two-day shipping, and I never looked back.  I literally order everything off of Amazon- socks, protein powder, cleaning supplies, makeup- you name it, and I've bought it.  It's gotten so bad that I literally wake up to multiple boxes at my door, and have no idea what they are.  It's kind of like Christmas every day, if you happen to buy your Christmas gifts when you're drunk at 2am.  

So why am I talking about Amazon?  Well because one of the mystery gifts I received this week from the Amazon Gods was a popsicle mold!  My mind instantly went racing with ideas for all of the ridiculous popsicle-shaped foods I could now make.

After ultimately deciding to pass on my hot sauce Doritos popsicle idea, I landed on the perfect healthy, hot-summer day treat: strawberry greek yogurt pops!  Using only a handful of ingredients, these simple ice pops turned out wonderfully yummy and refreshing.  The creaminess of the greek yogurt is nicely complimented by the textured graham cracker crumble. Naturally sweetened with strawberries and just a touch of honey, these pops are the perfect nutritious way to satisfy your summer sweet tooth!

So enjoy being able to avoid that creepy ice cream truck by freezing up these delicious ice pops!

Strawberries N' Creme Greek Yogurt Ice Pops

SERVINGS: 10     PREP TIME: 10 mins     FREEZE TIME: 4 hrs     DIFFICULTY: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 16 oz. non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 oz. strawberries, sliced
  • 4 graham cracker sheets, 
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, mix greek yogurt, honey, and vanilla until combined.  
  2. Add half of greek yogurt mixture to a 10-ice pop mold.  Add 1 or 2 slices of strawberries to each pop.  Freeze pops for 15 minutes until greek yogurt is slightly set.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine remaining greek yogurt and strawberries.  Pour strawberry mixture into the mold.
  4. In a small bowl, combine crushed graham crackers and coconut oil.  Top off the molds with graham cracker mixture.  Put wooden sticks in pops, and freeze for 4 hours.
  5. To remove pops, run under hot water for 10-20 seconds.

Nutritional Facts (1 Ice Pop):

Calories: 101, Fat: 3.4 g, Carbohydrates: 15.4 g, Protein: 5.4 g, Sugars: 11.4 g


Spicy Chicken, Avocado, and Peach Lettuce Cups with Honey-Sriracha Sauce


Spicy Chicken, Avocado, and Peach Lettuce Cups with Honey Sriracha Sauce

One of the most common questions I get asked is how I can bake so many delicious treats and not have Louie Anderson-esque body type that can still fit through doorways. Well you see, aside from the fact that I fatten up my friends, neighbors, and coworkers with my cooking so that I look thin simply by comparison, I'm also a firm believer in a balanced lifestyle, and balance eating. I absolutely love food, and think that life is too short not to treat yourself to the occasional sugary, fatty, carb-ridden indulgence.  That being said, healthy eating is a huge part of my life, and I believe that tasty food can be used not only to satisfy our bodies but to nourish them as well. (Also there's no way I'm going to look like Jessica Alba by eating Twinkies all day long.  So there's that).

So today I'm sharing one of my favorite healthy meals (so much so that I eat it for lunch several times a week): spicy chicken lettuce cups! These lettuce wrapped pockets of delight are low-calorie, low-carb, high-protein and all-delicious. The recipe is also incredibly simple and can be doubled (or quadrupled) and refrigerated with the ingredients prepped and ready to go, for quick and easy meals during the week. 

Most importantly, these lettuce cups are insanely yummy. The sweetness from the peaches and honey balances out the spiciness from the chicken rub and Sriracha, combined with the refreshing tang from the cucumber and greek yogurt-based sauce. There is also quite a bit of textural dimension in the dish, from the tender juiciness of the chicken, to the creamy avocado chunks, all wrapped up with a crisp crunch from the iceberg lettuce.  This deliciously light and fresh summer dish will make both your health and tastebuds happy (and may make you look like Jessica Alba.  Not confirmed yet.  But maybe).

P.S.: WARNING DO NOT EAT LETTUCE CUPS WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE.  MESSINESS WILL ENSUE.  (I speak from experience). 

Spicy Chicken, Avocado, and Peach Lettuce Cups with Honey-Sriracha Sauce

SERVINGS: 1     PREP TIME: 15 mins     COOK TIME: 5 mins     DIFFICULT: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 4 oz. chicken breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 yellow peach, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large iceberg lettuce leafs
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Directions:
  1. Pound chicken breast with mallet until about 1/2 inch even thickness.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle and rub on both sides of chicken breast.
  3. Heat a skillet on medium heat with non-stick spray, and cook chicken about 2-3 minutes on both sides.  Chicken is done when no longer pink and juices run clear, or when internal temperature measured with a thermometer is 160 degrees. Dice chicken and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine avocado, peach, cucumber, and onion.  Set aside.
  5. To make sauce, mix greek yogurt, Sriracha, and honey in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
  6. Assemble cups by dividing peach mixture and chicken amongst each of the four lettuce leafs.  Top each cup with a drizzle of the honey Sriracha sauce, and sprinkle with cilantro. 

Nutritional Facts (1 Serving= 4 Lettuce Cups):

Calories: 294, Fat: 9 g, Carbohydrates: 22 g, Protein: 30 g, Sugar: 17 g

  

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

So I've got a confession:  I'm not that into cupcakes. Now wait, wait- before you crazy cupcake freaks start strategically planning my takedown, hear me out.  I'm not saying I don't like cupcakes.  I'm just saying, in a fantasy world where I'm locked in a room filled with desserts (and yes, that's usually how my fantasies pan out), cupcakes probably aren't going to be the first treats I'm cramming down my throat.  

Now all that being said, these ones are an exception to my blas√© cupcake ideology.  Why?  Because their god damn amazing.  You see, I love beer- like a lot.  Anytime I get to bake and drink, I'm already a happy girl.  But when I actually get to put my beloved booze into my baking?  Even better!

Now how can I express just how good these cupcakes are?  Well, have you ever heard someone describe food as being "better than sex"?  I always thought that was so stupid. I mean, how the hell can you compare those two things?  And the person saying it is always the last person you want to imagine having sex.  Well anyways, I CAN ACTUALLY PROVE THESE CUPCAKES ARE BETTER THAN SEX.  You see, the last time I made these cupcakes, I had a girlfriend sleeping over at my apartment, and she happened to take someone home that night... I won't get into details, but my girlfriend decides (mid-activity) to stop, go to my kitchen, and eat one of my cupcakes.  I'm not joking.  I only know this because, I woke up at 2am to a strange man yelling "HEY BABE GET BACK HERE," and my girlfriend's voice (muffled by a mouthful of food) responding, "No, I'm eating a cupcake!"  So yeah- my cupcakes are better than sex. At least with that guy.

Anyways, these dude-approved cupcakes have a subtle stout beer flavor that perfectly compliments the chocolate base, creating a rich and moist (sorry if you hate that word) cake. It's topped with a velvety smooth chocolate cream cheese frosting, and are finished off with a sprinkling of sea salt to contrast with the sweetness.   The end result is a beyond decadent cupcake to enjoy with a cold glass of milk, or hell, another beer. So enjoy drinking, baking, eating, and banging (you know, to find out if they're really better than sex).

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

SERVINGS: 12     PREP TIME: 15 mins     COOK TIME: 25 minutes     DIFFICULTY: Medium

Ingredients:
Cupcakes:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 6 oz. Guiness stout beer
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Frosting:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • sea salt for sprinkling
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-muffin pan with liners, and spray with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and yogurt. Add beer and vanilla, and whisk until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together cocoa powder, sugar, flour, and baking soda.  Slowly whisk dry ingredients into beer mixture until batter is fully combined.  Whisk in melted butter.
  4. Fill cupcake liners with cupcake batter about 3/4 full, done mess-free by pouring from a bowl or cup with a spout.  Bake for 24-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, and tops are set. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. 
  5. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with a hand of standing mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add cocoa powder and mix until combined.  Slowly add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until creamy.
  6. Once cupcakes are COMPLETELY cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.  You can use a frosting gun, or use a zip-loc bag with a small hole cut from the corner.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

Best of all, once you finish these cupcakes you'll have five more Guinness beers to polish off!  A dessert that keeps on giving!

Egg-in-a-Hole Sriracha Bacon Burger


Egg-in-a-Hole Sriracha Bacon Burger

There is something so satisfying about making your own burger. I'm not exactly sure what it is- it's almost like when your cooking up your own burger, you're simultaneously freeing yourself from the control that In-N-Out has over your life.  Using your own two hands to form that patty leaves you with a priceless feeling of accomplishment, a feeling that says "screw you In-N-Out.  I don't need you."  (LOL JUST KIDDING I NEED YOU IN-N-OUT PLEASE DON'T EVER LEAVE ME.)

And you know what's one thing In-N-Out can't do?  Put a mo'fuckin egg in the middle of their burger!  Oh yeah, I went there.  You see, I'm a huge believer in eating breakfast foods at all times of the day, and will incorporate them into my meals any chance I get.  So why not a burger?  

With my gluttonous creativity, I decided to cook a soft-boiled egg in the center of my burger, resting on a sourdough roll and topped with crispy bacon and Sriracha aioli.  Although my arteries may beg to differ, this was a fantastic decision.  The breaking of the egg, with the yolk oozing out of the center of the burger may have been the most food porn-esque moment I have ever experienced.  The burger tasted equally as heavenly as it looked, with its rich gooey center contrasted with the crispness of the bacon, the heat from the Sriracha, and all held together by that soft golden roll.  

So next time you've got a hankering for a juicy out-of-this-word burger, express your burger independence and cook one of these bad boys up!

Egg-in-a-Hole Sriracha Bacon Burger

SERVINGS: 1     PREP TIME: 5 mins     COOK TIME: 10 mins     DIFFICULTY: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2 slices bacon, halved
  • 1 roll of choice, halved
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise 
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha 
  • 6 oz. 80/20% ground chuck beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
Directions:
  1. In a skillet, fry your bacon until crispy.  Remove bacon and let cool on paper towels, but keep skillet on heat. Reserve the bacon fat, and in the same skillet place halved bun flat side down, toasting until golden brown.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and Sriracha.  Set aside.
  3. Hand form your patty using ground chuck beef, and flatten until 1/2 inch thick.  Season both sides of patty with salt and pepper.  Using a small glass (I used a shot glass) cut a hole out of the center of patty.  Discard the center piece (or use it to make a teeny-tiny burger!). 
  4. In the skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat and panfry patty for 2 minutes on one side.  Flip the patty, and crack the egg in the center of burger.  Cover the skillet with a lid and panfry for 3 minutes, until the burger is cooked medium and egg is set. Remove from heat.
  5. Assemble burger, topping with bacon and spreading Sriracha aioli on both roll halves.

Cut burger in half to break egg yolk, or just dive right in mouth first!

Oatmeal Creme Pie Cookies


Oatmeal Creme Pie Cookies

Ah, "Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies," such fond childhood memories of those little individually wrapped packages of glory...  

If you weren't aware already, I was quite the super-chunker as a kid.  Of course, I eventually stopped resembling a child version of a beluga whale  once I realized that Little Debbie snack cakes were not one of the five major food groups.  But still, I look back on my time with those little creme pies like someone might look back on their time with their childhood friends.  Only I imagine you weren't eating your friends. Of if you were, probably not multiple of them in one sitting.

In any case, I thought my oatmeal creme pie-filled days were over, until my friend Kelsey asked if I could bake some of my own for her.  I'm not going to lie, I was a little scared.  I mean, what if I couldn't make Little Debbie proud? (Whoever the hell that is).

Well, after tasting my recreations, I'm happy to say I did my beloved snack cakes justice.  The cookies are chewy with that signature oat-y texture and a hint of cinnamon.  They perfectly sandwich the creamy marshmallow frosting, and are topped with my addition of a milk chocolate drizzle- take that, Debbie!

So next time you want to take a culinary trip down memory lane, whip up a batch of these oatmeal creme pie cookies.  I won't even blame you for pulling a young-Blair and cramming them in your mouth three at a time.  

Oatmeal Creme Pie Cookeis

SERVINGS: 18     PREP TIME: 15 mins     COOK TIME: 30 mins     DIFFICULTY: Medium

Ingredients:
Cookies:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1  cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
Drizzle:
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Filling:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 7 oz. jar Marshmallow Creme
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
Directions:
For cookies:
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars with a hand or standing mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. And egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture to wet ingredients, mixing until combined.  Stir in oats.  
  5. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Make sure there is enough space between cookies, as they will spread. Bake each sheet of cookies for 10 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on sheet for 5 minutes before moving them to wire rack to finish cooling. 
For filling:
  1. In a large bowl, combine butter and marshmallow creme.  Mix on medium until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Slowly add in powdered sugar, alternating with heavy cream as needed.  Mix until completely smooth and desired consistency. 
  3. When cookies are completely cool, sandwich 2-3 tablespoons of filling between cookies.
For drizzle:
  1. Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave in 15 second increments, stirring after each, until smooth.  Using fork drizzle over each creme pie.  Let chocolate drizzle set before serving.

Feel free to tell people you eat oatmeal for breakfast, then eat these instead!

Cookie Butter Creme Sandwich Cookies


Cookie Butter Creme Sandwich Cookies

There are three ways to a girl's heart: 1) flowers 2) puppies 3) cookie butter.  I have no idea what it is about cookie butter, but girls go ape shit over it.  I am one of those girls.

Cookie butter is basically the drug equivalent of crack for chicks.  I am convinced that the scientists at the Trader Joe's laboratory (because that's how things work) concocted the delightful spread as a way to control the female population. But I digress. 

If you're unfamiliar with cookie butter (I am suspicious of you) it basically is spreadable Speculoos cookies, similar in texture to peanut butter with a gingerbread-like flavor.  Now I will recommend going out and buying as many jars as your bank account will permit.

I never dreamed that anything could beat the taste of plain cookie butter spooned straight from the jar- until I made these cookies.  They're that insane.  The cookies themselves are super soft and pillowy, like a cloud of pure goodness. The smooth and creamy filling makes the treat that much more decadent and addicting.  

Have fun making these cookies, but be warned- you may end up eating the entire batch yourself. 

Cookie Butter Creme Sandwich Cookies

SERVINGS: 16     PREP TIME: 30 mins     COOK TIME: 16 mins     DIFFICULTY: Medium

Ingredients:
Cookies:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup Trader Joe's Cookie Butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Filling:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe's Cookie Butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Directions:
Cookies:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine butter, cookie butter, and sugars.  Beat with a hand or standing mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.  Set aside.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to cookie butter mixture, and mix on low speed until combined.
  5. Scoop rounded tablespoons  of cookie dough (preferably with a cookie scoop) 2 inches apart onto baking sheets.  Bake for 8 minutes until tops are golden.  Cookies may look slightly under-baked, but will set once cooled.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on sheets before removing. 
Filling:
  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and cookie butter with standing or hand mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Slowly beat in powdered sugar and milk, alternating until you reach the desired consistency.  
  2. Once the cookies are completely cooled, sandwich two cookies with 1-2 tablespoons of creme filling.  

Enjoy immediately or store in sealed container for up to 5 days!

Carne Asada Tacos with Spicy Bacon Rubbed Corn


Carne Asada Tacos with Spicy Bacon Rubbed Corn

You know those girls who go shopping and buy clothes that they don't really want or need just because it was a really good deal?  Yeah, I'm like that with food.  This week I went grocery shopping and  there was a 24 pack of flour tortillas that was really cheap.  Like REALLY cheap.  In retrospect there is no reason why I should have bought this.  For one, I usually make my own flour tortillas because its easy and they taste amazing.  Secondly, what the hell am I going to do with 24 tortillas?  

Well, rational food shopping obviously isn't my strong suit, so I've spent this entire week incorporating tortillas into almost every meal.  It's kind of fun actually- like an episode of 'Top Chef': Tortilla Edition.  

One of my favorite tortilla-ridden meals have been these carne asada tacos. The flavorful and tender carne asada paired with the light and citrusy pineapple-avocado salsa makes it the perfect summer dinner for two. Also: spicy bacon fat rubbed corn on the cob- need I say more?

Carne Asada Tacos with Spicy Bacon Rubbed Corn

SERVINGS: 2     PREP TIME: 1 hr     COOK TIME: 25 mins     DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM

Ingredients:
  • 12 ounces skirt or flank steak
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 medium roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 6 small flour tortillas
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, cumin and salt. Place marinade and steak in a plastic bag, and let marinade in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  While preheating, fry bacon in a skillet until crispy. Reserve the bacon fat, and finely chop the bacon.  Wrap each ear of corn in foil, and drizzle with bacon fat.  Sprinkle with red chili flakes and chopped bacon. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Remove the steak from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil.  Pan fry steak 2-5 minutes on each side until thoroughly cooked, but tender. Let rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing.  Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl toss together avocado, tomato, pineapple, and red onion. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Warm tortillas in oven, and assemble tacos with carne asada and avocado-pineapple salsa. Serve with spicy-bacon corn.
 

Dutch Baby Pancake with Raspberries & Blueberries


Dutch Baby Pancake with Raspberries & Blueberries

I first discovered these scrumptious pancakes was from my boyfriend's mother Linda, who used to make these for her four kids growing up.  I've heard them called many names, from German pancakes, Dutch baby pancakes, oven pancakes, etc.

I took note of the breakfast treat when I saw how pretty and fluffy and airy they looked being pulled out of the oven (yes, they are cooked in the oven, not on the stovetop).  To my delight, they tasted just as scrumptious as they looked.  Light and airy on the outside, with a slight crunch on the edges, and soft and doughy on the inside.  Sweetness is added with fresh fruit and a dusting of powdered sugar.  I used blueberries and raspberries, but the pancakes also taste great with strawberries, apples, peaches, or any fresh fruit you have on hand.

The best part about these pancakes are just how easy they are to throw together!  The fact that they're cooked in the oven means no flipping, no spilling batter, and no constant checking for doneness.  This recipe makes one giant pancake- cut in half for the perfect breakfast for two (or keep whole for one very hungry eater!).

Dutch Baby Pancake with Raspberries & Blueberries

SERVINGS: 1     PREP TIME: 10 mins     COOK TIME: 12-15 mins     DIFFICULTY: EASY

Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raspberries and blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flaked coconut 
Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Put butter into a 10-inch oven proof skillet, and place in oven while preheating.  

  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, and salt.  In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add milk and vanilla.  Slowly add egg mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.  

  3. Remove skillet from oven, the butter should be bubbling.  Swirl the butter to coat entire surface of skillet.  Pour batter in the skillet, and top with 1/2 cup of berries.  Reserve the other half.

  4. Bake the pancake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the center is set.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool in skillet for 5 minutes, and top with remaining berries. Sprinkle with coconut and powdered sugar and serve immediately. 


Banana Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Muffins


Banana Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Muffins

I have to say, one of my favorite parts about baking in using food to make people happy... while also getting me out of trouble when I screw up.  Think about- no one is ever mad at the girl who brought you cookies, or in this case, muffins.  These muffins are pretty universally loved, and are a foolproof way of saving your butt the next time you mess up.  

"I'm sorry my rent is late, here's some banana muffins!"

"I'm sorry I forgot your birthday mom, here's some banana muffins!"

"I'm sorry I hit your car, here's some banana muffins!"

Okay, maybe not the last one, but you get my point.  These muffins are amazing, and an all-around crowd pleaser. Super moist, not overly sweet, and completely customizable with add-ins.  I chose coconut, semi-sweet chocolate chunks, and walnuts (because frankly I was trying to clean out my baking pantry), but feel free to throw in your favorites!

So next time you've got some bananas that are past their prime, or need to get back on someone's good side, bake up some of these simple and delicious banana muffins!

Banana Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Muffins

SERVINGS: 18     PREP TIME: 10 mins     COOK TIME: 17-19 mins     DIFFICULTY: EASY

Ingredients
  • I cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 24 muffin pan (or 12 muffin pan, done in two batches) with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, with a hand mixer or standing mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, and beat until combined.  Add mashed bananas and mix on low speed until combined.  Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and salt together.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to your banana mixture, stirring only until combined.  Do not over-mix, batter should be lumpy. 

  4. Stir in 3/4 cup of coconut and 3/4 cup of walnuts, reserving 1/4 cup each for topping.

  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan about 3/4 full, which should make about 18 muffins.  Top each muffin with reserved coconut, walnuts, and chocolate chunks.  

  6. Place in over and bake for 5 minutes.  Keeping muffins in the oven, reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 12-14 minutes.  Muffins are done when tops are brown, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs.

  7. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing, and finish cooling on a wire rack.  

Muffins can be enjoyed immediately, staying fresh for up to 3 days, of frozen for up to 3 months!